Regional Community Accomplishments on the Proposed Niagara Bottling Project


By Rebecca Martin

Last night was in essence the conclusion of many months of discussion regarding Lead Agency and  the proposed Niagara Bottling project. It has been a deeply intense time period for many hard working people who are dedicated in making this a sound process. Today starts a brand new phase with our collective group of many talented and tenacious citizens, organizations and elected officials.

It’s important that we take a moment to acknowledge and to thank all of those who we have had the good fortune to work and be guided by. In a few short weeks, collectively Riverkeeper, The Woodstock Land Conservancy, the Esopus Creek Conservancy,  Save Cooper Lake, the Kingston Common Council, Town of Woodstock, Food and Water Watch and hundreds of residents of the affected communities have succeeded in placing this proposal under a great deal of public scrutiny.   Thank you.

Much gratitude must also be given to the team that has assembled under the umbrella.  In essence, it is a dream to see this platform work as it was intended to do and on a most critical issue.  Thank you Kitty McCullough, Debra Bresnan, Karin Wolf, Rachel Marco-Havens and Elizabeth Littleton and Beth Bengston.

To Jennifer Schwartz Berky who is one of Kingston’s treasures. A very generous soul, a dear friend, a true professional and spectacular partner to have.   To my co-chair, Heather Schwegler  who is savvy, smart and keeps us all in good humor.


Your involvement has made many positive outcomes possible. Some of them include:

~ The City of Kingston Common Council has been incredibly supportive of the public’s request by voting unanimously in favor of three resolutions requesting that the DEC be Lead Agency of the Niagara Proposal and that the CoK be added as Involved Agency in the SEQR process.

~ The early commissioning of the Carpenter Report thanks to the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Riverkeeper has begun to identify and document a sampling of the numerous potential impacts that must be considered as part of the scoping process. (More on this shortly)

~ The Town of Ulster issued a Positive Declaration on the Niagara Proposal. This was not at all a foregone conclusion in September and October.

~ The Town of Ulster determining to require a full public scoping process of the proposed action ensuring that the public and all interested and affected parties, communities and agencies have the opportunity to contribute to the scope of the EIS.   This is not required to do under SEQRA regs, this is a big win for the public and a direct result of the full-court press by the public, grass-roots community groups, elected officials and affiliated organizations.

~ The applicant amending the proposed action once to include a much wider geographic scope and add additional Interested and Involved Agencies including NYC DEP and the Mink Hollow brook and Beaverkill, as well as the Cooper Lake Reservoir and KWD supply and distribution system.

~ NYS DEC pledging to play a proactive role in the SEQRA process.

~ NYS DEC informing the TOU that it must require the applicant to expand the scope of action to include the Whole Action, and avoid Segmentation per SEQRA, with multiple additional items that must be analyzed.

~ NYC DEP adding specific items that the Town of Ulster must require the applicant to address.



VIDEO: Town of Ulster Town Board Defeats Resolution of City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock as Involved Agencies. Passes Resolution Clearing ToU as Lead Agency and Positive Declaration.


By Rebecca Martin

* Because we want to get this information out to the public ASAP, we are still extracting important details from the video and of documents pertaining to  SEQR in the proposed Niagara Bottling Project over the next few days.  Please check back daily on this post as we do so and thank you.

Tonight at the Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting, the Town Board under the leadership of Supervisor James Quigley passed several resolutions that included a Resolution for the City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock to become Involved Agencies (Denied Unanimously, though with some hesitation),  2) A resolution clearing Lead Agency to construct a water bottle facility. (Resolution passed unanimously.) 3) A resolution declaring a positive SEQR declaration (passed unanimously).

The public comment was incredibly rich. Take a moment and review it below.

I ask that the citizens not be discouraged and to continue to be diligent.. There is a great deal underway to protect our interests. As the Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilber states in his public comment “There are citizens that transcend the borders…that are going to involve themselves. We would rather be inside the tent with you spitting out than outside the tent spitting in. But we will be an involved party….I just hope that we won’t have to dwell on legalisms as neighboring towns and as people and that share a very neutral concern for the future of our water sources of the area.”

We are united and committed in seeing our region prosper and in working together to find alternative solutions in addressing Kingston’s aging infrastructure.

Special thanks to Clark Richter of Kingston News for filming this evening.


Initial Public Comments

1:26 – 4:41
Kevin Smith, Chairman of the Woodstock Land Conservancy

4:45 – 6:11
Dennis Doyle, Ulster County Planning Board

6:20 – 8:05
Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper

8:14 – 11:57
Rebecca Martin, Kingston, NY

12:00 –  15:44
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston, NY

15:55 – 18:37
Rev. Betsy Stang, The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources

18:47 – 22:13
Kitty McCullough, Kingston, NY

22:19 – 25:21
Rachel Marco-Havens,

25:30 – 28:45
Robert Barton, Town of Ulster

28:58 – 31:58
Donald Gregorius, UC Legislator

31:57 – 35:39
Jeremy Wilber, Town of Woodstock Supervisor

35:55 – 39:39
Henrietta Wise, Olivebridge, NY


On Niagara Bottling Company Resolutions

0:10 – 1:08
Resolution including City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock as Involved Agency
Resolution defeated unanimously (though with hesitation)

1:12 – 1:41
Resolution clearing Lead Agency to construct a water bottle facility.
Resolution passed unanimously

1:42 – 2:29
Resolution declaring a positive SEQR declaration
“I would the people in the audience to know the that the town board is dedicating itself to an open and public process…as requested.”  – Supervisor James Quigley
Resolution passed unanimously

Closing Public Comments

2:46 – 5:21
Robert Barton, Town of Ulster

5:28 – 7:31
Jeremy Wilber, Town of Woodstock Supervisor

7:37 – 10:14
Rachel Marco-Havens,

10:23 – 11:27
Donald Gregorius, UC Legislator

11:35 – 13:40
Jennifer Schwartz Berky,

13:47 – 16:34
Kevin Smith, Chairman of the Woodstock Land Conservancy

16:43 – 20:09
Rebecca Martin,

20:24 – 21:24
Mike Berardi, Town of Ulster